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Jon Snow (born 28 September 1947) is an Englishmarker journalist and presenter, currently employed by ITN. He is best known for presenting Channel 4 News.

He is also known for his vast collection of colourful ties.

He is the son of the schoolmaster and Bishop, George D'Oyly Snow, grandson of First World War general Thomas D'Oyly Snow and cousin of retired BBC television news presenter Peter Snow.


Early life

Snow was born in Ardingly, Sussexmarker. His father was an Anglican clergyman and schoolteacher, and he was brought up at Ardingly College, an independent school where his father George D'Oyly Snow was headmaster. He later attended the independent St Edward's Schoolmarker in Oxfordmarker. His father would later become Bishop of Whitby.

After mixed success in his first attempt to pass his A level qualifications he moved to Yorkshire Coast College, Scarboroughmarker, where, he later obtained the necessary qualifications to gain a place studying law at University of Liverpoolmarker. However, he did not complete the degree, being rusticated for his part in a student protest, in which he threw paint over the statue of Queen Victoria in Scarboroughmarker, then opting not to return.

After leaving Liverpool he worked for New Horizon Youth Centre, a day centre for young drug addicts in central London - an organisation with which he has remained involved and of which he subsequently became chairman. Snow was an assistant to Lord Longford and for a year was a VSO volunteer in Northern Uganda, East Africa.


Snow in June 2007.
Without any journalistic experience he joined the radio station LBC as a journalist, and happened to be in the right place at the right time when he was sent by IRN News Editor Derek Grant to report live on commercial radio throughout the Balcombe Street Siegemarker in London. As a result of his reporting and an inside tip from his cousin and ITN employee Peter Snow, Jon moved on to television news organisation ITN in 1976.

He served as ITN's Washingtonmarker correspondent (1983-1986) and as diplomatic editor (1986-1989) before becoming the main presenter of Channel 4 News in 1989. In 1992 he was the main anchor for ITN's Election Night programme, broadcast on ITV; he presented the programme alongside Sir Robin Day, Alastair Stewart, and Julia Somerville. (Previously ITN's programme had typically been presented by Sir Alastair Burnet, who left ITN in 1991. The 1992 election night programme was the only one hosted by Snow, he was replaced by Jonathan Dimbleby from 1997 onwards.) He has won several RTS Awards - two for reports from El Salvadormarker, one for his reporting of the Kegworth air disastermarker, and two as "Presenter of the Year".

In 2002 he returned to radio, presenting Jon Snow Reports on Oneword Radio, a weekly show and podcast. He wrote regular articles for the Channel 4 News website, and writes 'Snowmail' - a daily email newsletter on the big stories coming up on the evening edition of Channel 4 News. Although being reputed to have said that he would rather not wear ties on air, he regularly wears bright ties and socks on air.

Memorable incidents

In 1976, Snow rejected an approach by MI5marker to spy on his colleagues. At first he was asked to supply information about the Communist Party, but he was then asked to spy on certain 'left-wing people’ working in television. In return MI5 would make secret monthly tax-free payments into his bank account; his salary of £3,600 would be matched and there wouldn't be any problems with Inland Revenue.

In 2003 when, at the height of the "dodgy dossier" affair, Alastair Campbell walked into the studio to rebut statements by the BBC. With no notes or preparation Snow questioned Campbell about the affair.

He refuses to wear any symbol which may represent his views on air; in the run up to Remembrance Day he condemned "Poppy Fascism" because "in the end there really must be more important things in life than whether a news presenter wears symbols on his lapels."

On 28 February 2008 Jon Snow courted controversy by claiming that the silence of the British Media on the decision to allow Prince Harry to fight in Afghanistan was unacceptable with the following statement: "I never thought I'd find myself saying thank God for Drudge. The infamous US blogger has broken the best kept editorial secret of recent times. Editors have been sworn to secrecy over Prince Harry being sent to fight in Afghanistan three months ago." These remarks provoked criticism from some members of the public and other media outlets, with some accusing Snow of wishing to undermine the safety of the Prince and his troops, and (according to the Snow himself at the end of that day's bulletin, and later reported in the Daily Mail) one Captain in the armed forces calling it treason.

On 9 February 2009, Snow interviewed Lt-Col Yvonne Bradley the military counsel for Binyam Mohamed, a British resident detained for five years at Guantanamo Bay. Snow asked if Mohamed's allegations of torture were justified. Lt-Col Bradley said there was no doubt at all that he had been tortured. Mohamed was released and returned to Britain on 23 February 2009.

Personal life

Snow was briefly engaged in 1979 to fellow ITN journalist Anna Ford, who later became an equally high profile television news presenter.

For 35 years his partner was human rights lawyer Madeleine Colvin, with whom he has two daughters.

Snow is an avid conifer collector and a patron of the British Conifer Society.

Honours and public positions

Snow is a trustee of the National Gallerymarker and, in this capacity, sits as a trustee also of the Tate Gallerymarker. In the released papers of trustee meetings of the latter institution, Snow was the only trustee to seriously question the gallery's purchase of The Upper Room by Chris Ofili.

He is a Patron of Prisoners Abroad, a UK charity which supports British citizens detained outside of the UK.

He is a Patron of One World Media, a charity which uses the media to promote global understanding, and he presents the charity's annual One World Media Awards.

He held the ceremonial post of chancellor of Oxford Brookes Universitymarker, and regularly attended ceremonial events at the University. In September 2009 he was awarded an honorary degree by Oxford Brookes - Doctor of the University. He is also an honorary professor and guest lecturer on Stirling University's Film & Media Studies course.
  • From 15 February 2006 he has been an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, an annually-conferred lifetime honour which allows recipients to use the initials Hon FRIBA after their name. He also has an honorary degree from Aberdeen University, in recognition of his services to broadcasting.

Snow became President of the Cyclists' Touring Club in January 2007, succeeding Phil Liggett.

Archive footage of news items read by Snow feature in Franny Armstrong's new documentary The Age of Stupid.

Snow declined an OBE, then investigated and presented a Channel 4 documentary named Secrets of the Honours System.

Jon Snow is patron of the Bhopal Medical Appeal, a UK-based charity that supports the only free clinic in Bhopal treating survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster. The Bhopal Medical Appeal is part of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

Jon Snow is patron of the Media Legal Defence Initiative, a UK-based charity that provides legal aid and assistance to journalists and news media organizations around the world, supports training in media law and promotes the exchange of information, litigation tools and strategies for lawyers working on media freedom cases.


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